Found a Great Deal on a Foreclosure! Still do an Inspection!


Housemaster, a home inspection franchisor, reports there are abundant opportunities for qualified homebuyers in the current real estate market – triggered by a 28% rise in foreclosure activity from last year. While President Obama’s $75 billion loan modification and refinancing Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan will help as many as 4 million struggling homeowners, it won’t save everyone from foreclosure resulting in prime deals for qualified homebuyers. 

There are many great deals to be had in the current environment, it is important to note that proper preparation is key to successfully navigating the foreclosure market. Working through the intricate foreclosure market will be less difficult for consumers that properly prepare for the process.

While lower asking prices draw potential buyers to these homes, each property has its own challenges that can come from abuse, neglect or deferred maintenance on the part of the previous owner. Consumers must do their homework to help them know whether a property is truly a ‘good deal.'”

A home inspection by a qualified home inspector can provide buyers with a comprehensive education on the home they are considering. Education is the key when buying a foreclosed property as it helps the buyer understand their options allowing them to get the best house for reduced costs and helps to avoid making potentially devastating financial mistakes.

According to a recent study conducted by HouseMaster, there are five main physical conditions that are typically found in a foreclosed property. They are: Moisture-related problems; defective gaskets, valves and hoses that are leaking or have the potential to cause destruction; vandalism, especially if the property has been vacant; insect and rodent infestations and blocked or damaged waste and sewer lines.

While now is a great time to buy for first time home owners however, property inspections are very critical in making the right investment and avoiding costly headaches down the road.”

For more information, visit www.housemaster.com.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

When Life Gives you Lemons….


 

Believe it or not there are a lot more uses for lemons other than in the kitchen or lemonade, the gift for its’ many uses is in the natural acid found in the fruit. Here are a few…

•1)      Antiseptic/Deodorizer: Lemon juice is a great choice for deodorizing counter, cutting boards, etc. The acid in lemon juice kills mold, bacteria and germs. (Be careful of granite or high end counters, as the juice could dull these surfaces).

•2)      Microwave Cleaner: Put a couple of slices in a cup of water and boil.  Use a damp cloth to wipe down; the lemon soaked steam will help you cut through the grease.

•3)      Metal Cleaner: An acid like lemon juice works wonders for cleaning metals such as chrome, copper and brass. Mix lemon juice with salt for a bit of an abrasive.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

 

Looking for Something New and Different to Spice up Your Live Space?


Looking for something new and different to spice up your live space? Perhaps by adding a multiuse “conversation piece”, there will initiate a lively discussion at your next cocktail party. Here is a possible solution, California based Motorart is transforming furniture and using the most usual supplies…junk aircraft. The company buys up everything from World War II plane parts, fighter jets and even modern jet parts. They then transform them into furniture. Anything from desks, tables, couches, chairs, etc. It is referred to as “Industrial Chic”. Furniture this year is flaunting their rivets, welds and mechanical origins. So I guess the old saying still rings true. One man junk is another mans treasure (or maybe in this case his coffee table).

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

Could Proper Tire Pressure Save You Gas?


A resolution was adopted this week, by the Air Resources Board, requiring all auto repair shops to check the tire pressure every time drivers bring their vehicle in for repair or smog tests.  According to board members, mandating properly inflated tires will reduce fuel consumption saving 75 million gallons of gasoline each year state wide. In additional, this will reduce green house emissions, hopefully making the air we breath just a bit cleaner.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

Is there a rainy day in your personal employment future?


Is there a rainy day in your personal job forecast? That wouldn’t be surprising – not with unemployment rates in double digits in several states, 8.2 percent nationwide and widely expected to hit 10 percent or higher by next year. So with all this uncertainty, who can think of buying a home??? Washington based The Rainy Day Foundation is now offering job-loss protection coverage and homebuyer financial counseling through approximately 100 builders and lenders across the country, plus two large real estate brokerages, according to CEO Rick Del Sontro Here’s how the Rainy Day plan works: Consumers purchasing homes through a participating builder, lender or realty agency can qualify for up to six months of mortgage payments – capped at $1,800 per month in some versions and $2,500 in others – if they lose their job during the two years following their closing. There is no direct cost to the buyer. The insurance coverage is underwritten by Virginia Surety. Sound good? Want to know more? For more info to go therainydayfoundation.org.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection. Best regards. Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI 2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Going Green–By Order of the Law!


In San Juan Capistrano, four homes are currently being built with solar panels in order to be powered by the sun. These for homes are only a few of the first 1 million to be built by the year 2018, as part of the Million Solar Roofs law.

Some highlights of this law include:

Mandating that solar panels become a standard option for all new homebuyers, enabling new home buyers to choose to add solar panels to their new home while it is being constructed. The bill also directs the California Energy Commission to determine if and when solar power should be mandated on new construction as a standard, non-optional feature.

What do you think about the government stepping in to make solar panels a “standard option for all new homebuyers?”

Thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors

(949) 753-7900

More Signs that the Market is Slowly on the Rise. Are We Moving Forward?


The median home price in Southern California has been stable for three straight months while sales have been increasing, a real estate tracking firm said Wednesday.

The figures, showing that the median price in the six-county region has remained at $250,000 from January through March, indicate “the market may be exploring price floor levels,” MDA DataQuick said in its report.

The firm also said sales increased 52 percent last month to 19,486 from 12,808 in March 2008, led by low-cost foreclosure deals in inland neighborhoods. Last month was the ninth straight month with a year-over-year sales increase.

“Sales are picking up. We’re starting to see that home prices are flattening,” said Delores Conway, director of the Casden Forecast at the University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate. “These are all signs that the market is starting to stabilize and return to a more normal housing market.”

The flattening prices and increasing sales come amid historically low interest rates and a surge of foreclosed properties that banks have been eager to unload at bargain basement prices.

Foreclosures accounted for more than 55 percent of all sales last month in Southern California.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

 

Energy Bills. How can you save money?


With the hot summer month’s right around the corner, many of us will be cranking up the air conditioning to fight the heat; however doing so can be very expensive. Here are a few tips to help slash your bill and help you save some money.

  •  Keep A/C Filters and Coils Clean – Dirty air filters can reduce airflow, clean the condenser coil every two years and change filters monthly.
  •  Use your ceiling fans instead of A/C.
  •   Upgrade your windows. Replacing your single-pane windows with double pan windows can potentially  save you 47% on your bill.
  •  Unplug the old fridge in the garage. Refrigerators built in 1993 uses twice as much energy as newer models.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

Why Water Conservation?


Water is an essential part of life. There are many uses. Growing food, keeping clean, hydrates our bodies etc. Water is constantly being cleaned and recycled through the earth’s water cycle. However we use the planet’s fresh water supply faster than it can be replenished. This being said it is important to conserve, for the earth, for your family and for the environment. A few water saving tips…

1) Take shorter showers.

2) Turn off the water when brushing you teeth.

3) Water your plants every 2-3 days.

4) Fix leaky faucets and/or toilets.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900

Get a Clue!


The CLUE Personal Property report provides a seven year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.

Providing information to a potential buyer makes the home you are selling more attractive, and is to your advantage. More and more homebuyers are requiring home sellers to provide a CLUE report as a contingency to a purchase offer. By ordering the report at the time of listing, the smart seller and his/her agent are ready for the first potential buyer to walk in the door. At the same time, a potential buyer will achieve a greater comfort level when making an offer on a property for which the loss history is known.  

Until CLUE reports are a standard disclosure in any home sale, here’s how you can avoid a bad situation: 

When Working With Sellers:

Ask sellers to order their home’s CLUE report before listing the property. This will make them aware of potential problems in selling the home and will give them a chance to correct any wrong information in the report. 

A clean CLUE report can be used as a selling point. Make sure potential buyers know that it’s available for them to view. 

Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, property owners can order one free report every year. 

When Working With Buyers: 

Make the purchase contingent on viewing a CLUE report, or on the buyer obtaining affordable insurance. Check with your state REALTOR® association or real estate commission to see if it offers a rider or an addendum that you can include with the contract. 

Ask the buyer to apply for insurance immediately after a signed contract. 

Buyers also should request a copy of their personal Insurance Scores, which also are often used by insurance companies to determine consumers’ overall insurance risks and premiums. Learning what factors are used in calculating rates can help consumers reduce their insurance premiums over time.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards.

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CRB CRS GREEN GRI

2007 President, Orange County Association of Realtors           

(949) 753-7900